The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Guest spot: Sauce Maker by Rodney Tibbs

Tefals Le SaucierI recently met Rodney at a dinner party. Like us he is a foodie. He has been a journalist for over 50 years and is still a motoring correspondent. We have just discovered that we live in the same village.

Sauce Maker

There are some things in the kitchen that are so useful you worry that they might break and leave you floundering. In my case that thing is so rare that I wonder how other people manage without it.

I am talking about the Tefal sauce maker or “Le Saucier”. I was reminded of this when I read of your efforts with Bechamel sauce, something Le Saucier takes in its stride.

Briefly it is a gadget which has its own specialised saucepan and its own heat source. You programme time and temperatures from a little window on the front, chuck in the ingredients and let it get on with it. It stirs and heats and generally produces a no fuss sauce or gravy. Now you can concentrate on that tricky recipe or culinary masterpiece without having to spend time stirring away on the top of the hob.

Mine came from Lakeland many years ago so I rang them to ask how much a replacement would cost when mine goes to the great kitchen in the sky. They just didn’t do it any more, they said. So I rang Tefal in the UK who were most helpful but said they did not import it any more.

So I pinned my faith in French cooks and went to the Internet where I found it, but apparently now being made by a different firm. There is no doubt it is the same item although now finished in white instead of a dark gravy brown but getting at it is not going to be quite so easy.

I can negotiate the French websites OK but most of their firms want you to register with a whole host of details before they will consider posting the item to you. I have decided that when I am on holiday in the French Alps this summer I will make a point of visiting the local electrical stores to see if I can track down Le Saucier.

Which leaves us with the mystery of why such an incredibly useful device which frees up so much kitchen time, should be so little known and so little used? To me it is a bit like discovering that when my potato peeler dies there will never be another one.

If any of your readers can shed any light on this I would be very grateful. And should I find the Holy Grail, and if anyone cares, I will bring you up to date with the details.

Update October 2009: Amazon now stocks Le Saucier – a bit cheaper than a day trip to France.

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  1. michelle sheets

    Hello Ladies and Rodney,
    I’m going to have to stop peeking at all of your blogs since I’m learning about all of the lovely things that you have that I havn’t heard about and/or won’t be able to get since I live in the States. I’m a kitchen gadget junkie, so Le Saucier sounds wonderful to me…sigh!

    Hi Pat,
    If you are truly desprate for a peeling (paring?) knife I could send you one, it would be a little cheaper than plane fare!:)

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Toffee Apple

    Danny and I have our individual pet potato peelers, honed to your hand and a real friend. I reckon Rodney has a similar one.

    Hello Amanda

    Hope that you fond the combination steamer/slow cooker. Both are worth it as they use far less electricity. We are thinking about a steamer now.

    Hi Joanna

    Good idea. Ebay is such a great resource. All our winemaking equipment came in just one lot with loads of extras as it was a personal sale. If I find that I need something else it is generally sitting in the box waiting for action!

    Hi Mildred

    I met a couple today who use a steamer frequently. It came with small rice pots. They have found that rice doesn’t work for them in the steamer. Everything else does though.

    Hi Pat

    After 10 years it’s his and hers knives and peelers. Lass fuss more time to concentrate on the food.

    Hi Amanda

    Will be posting on rice in a few days. Non steamer but apparently a perfect no sweat recipe.

    Hi Mildred

    Never mention steamed puds within Danny’s earshot (or mine) for the next 2 months 😉

    Hi Kate(uk)

    Spot on.

    The saucier sounds great. It’s just a question of space with us. The slow cooker has to live under the kitchen table…

  3. Kate(uk)

    If enough people ask Lakeland might just find a supplier!

  4. Hi Amanda, well . . . a little of what you fancy . . .. ! We only have small portions, honestly 😉

  5. Thanks Mildred. I wonder if Minamoo has made rice in it yet. Homemade steamed puds eh? Definitely not something I need to get hooked on at the start of the year.

  6. I have always wondered about those and how well they work. Saw one on the telly but forget who was using it.
    Fiona, I am just like you and if I loose my vegetable peeler I will have to go back to the US for another one. Hubby has lost my 3 little peeling knives I brought over. He isn’t allowed to touch my peeler.

  7. Amanda, I was just re reading the comment on the steamer, it is on the Jan 7th comments.

    We bought a steamer recently but it hasn’t got the rice compartment. I love it for cooking vegetables and steamed sponge puds of course! I wouldn’t want to be without it now.

    I would hate to be without my Kitchen Aid mixer and blender too. And my little kitchen knife!

    Hope you find a Saucier Rodney!

  8. Rodney – have you tried eBay? Less drastic than a trip to the Alps 😉


  9. Hi Rodney, good luck, hope you find another one.

    Hi Fiona, I’ve just been searching trying to find a comment left by Minamoo. They had just bought a Tefal rice cooker/ steamer and slow cooker in one and I was wondering if she’d tried making rice in it yet. I currently use a microwave steamer which turns out beautiful rice but I want to move away from using plastic and the microwave. Particularly in light of all the horrible things you read about heating plastic, etc. (You’ve also sold me on the slow cooker!)

  10. Toffeeapple

    I’m intrigued ny your potato peeler – how specialised is it??

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